Topping off a nearly four-month discussion, the Coon Rapids City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a proposed ordinance that would require service station owners to make all fuel purchases prepaid, either inside the station or at the pump.
The measure was proposed as a means to prevent drive-off fuel thefts, a common crime in Coon Rapids and elsewhere, and a difficult one to investigate and prosecute. There were 492 reports of fuel theft in the city in 2010, with fewer than 2 percent resulting in arrests. By contrast, 74 percent of shoplifting reports resulted in arrests.
An initial vote was postponed in December when council members decided to hear whether station owners had alternative ideas to prevent the crime. They heard from about a dozen station owners and their representatives at a January work session. This is the first time the council has revisited the issue since.
No other Minnesota city has a law on the books requiring prepayment for fuel.